17 Ways To try and keep your diabetic feet safe
Diabetic feet are the forgotten body part. We wrap them up first thing in the morning and then forget about them until bed time.
The problem with this is that we have a full day for an issue to occur to our feet. This can include:
- having a stone within our shoe
- if we have open toed shoes then anything can get to our toes. Our toes can be banged and hurt
Some people don't wear shoes and walk around their home barefooted hoping that they will be able to feel something on their feet.
Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.
Diabetic feet are particularly prone because:
- diabetes can reduce your healing rates- so it takes longer for something to heal
- diabetes reduces your ability to feel very light touch- not hard pressure (that comes later)
- diabetes can reduce your proprioception- the ability to know where your feet are- leading to trips and falls
- circulation can reduce to the toes
Not fun. So how can we try and prevent issues from occurring To Our Diabetic Feet?
For diabetic feet, prevention is so much easier than cure, it really is. One you do have a wound it can heal or can not. That is just the nature of the disease. Wounds can heal, they may take time and a team to do it, but they can. But also they can decline- even with a teams help.
So here are 17 ways to try and prevent issues from occurring in the first place:
- Blood sugars. From the off this doesnt really belong with the diabetic foot? Well every place where you have a cell within your body, glucose comes in contact, therefore diabetes affects all cells within your body. From your brain to your toes. Irregular blood sugars over a period of time = problems with your feet
- Smoking? Smoking reduces the circulation, reducing nutrients getting to your cells and it also affect Insulin. Diabetes by itself causes your risk of foot issues to increase. By adding smoking into the mix, you can x16 that risk.
- No barefoot walking. Closed in shoes protect your feet (as long as they fit well, have no debris within them etc). Going barefoot seems to attract issues to your feet :) You want to reduce the risk of anything causing issues to your diabetic feet
- Making sure that you have the right footwear. Walking around the mall in flipflops is going to cause issues- they were not designed for that. Walking shoes or running shoes were. Always remember depth, width and length. Increasing the length doesnt always mean that the width and depth are increased- the style usually needs to be changed.
- Open toed sandals and flipflops with or without socks is still wrong. Socks are soft and do not protect your feet from anything sharp. Open toed anything is leaving your feet on show. Remember, reduce the risk to your diabetic feet
- Always wear socks. Especially light coloured socks. With these you will be able to spot blood that little bit quicker than if you were wearing a dark coloured sock. Socks also reduce friction within your footwear- reduces the risk of shoe material rubbing on your skin
- Dont wash your feet separately. Most people say you should but as long as you have a regular bath/ shower then that is all that they need. Then...
- Visually check your feet daily. You dont need to wash your feet daily to check them. Get into a routine, brush your teeth, brush your hair and check your feet. Figure out what is normal for you and then you will be able to see what is abnormal quite quickly. Dont rely on pain as an indicator of a problem, visually check both feet daily.
- Dont wait. If there is a problem then get it seen to. We have had people come to us and they have had a large wound on their feet for 3 months- waiting for it to heal. It didn't. Any signs of redness is a visual alert to say that something is wrong. Blood states that your skin has been broken and sometimes discharge states that the area is infected.
- Dont compare yourself to others. People are different and so is Diabetes. Just because they are running around in flipflops doesnt mean that you should. Just because they are using diet to control their diabetes and you are using insulin doesn't mean that you did something bad.
- Use over the counter treatments with caution. Most people do not check the box which most items come in. Corn plasters, wart removers and many hard skin reducing devices shouldnt really be used with diabetic feet. Sometimes they can cause more issues.
- Fungal toenails are quite common with diabetics. So is its sister- athletes foot. It can be got rid of through various different ways (most online treatment ideas are complete BS) so check out your doctor for the best method for you. However once gone it can come back, diabetics seem a little bit more prone.
- If you scratch or injure your foot. Clean the wound and apply a clean dressing then see your doctor. Diabetic wounds can get better or they can get worse, quite easily and quickly. Diabetics have reduced immunity and their healing is also slightly reduced.
- Bedtime. Can cause issues for diabetics if they walk to the bathroom in the night. Leave a pair of slippers by your bed and use them to go to the toilet. Dont walk barefooted as too many patients have hit their feet against bed posts etc
- Walking on sand. Should be closed in shoes right :) Some diabetics can not feel certain pressures and sand can burn. Prevent injury by walking with your feet covered
- Pedicure places. Its OK to use these as long as if they cut you it is redressed appropriately and that they use autoclaved (usually a standard in most places, check for yours) sterilized instruments
- Creams. Emollients are quite helpful to diabetics if their feet are dry- especially around the heels, but not inbetween the toes. It is quite damp inbetween the toes and it doesnt need any more moisture.
Check out more diabetic feet tips at our diabetes feet HQ.